Feed a cold, starve a fever?

A famous home remedy for illness is “feed a cold, starve a fever”.  This has actually been traced back to a quote from a dictionary in the 1500s!  But is it true?

When our body has a cold, our immune system needs energy to fight it.  We need to continue nourishing our body with healthy food when we have a cold.

When we have a fever, our immune system raises our body temperature,  This increases the metabolism, and we need additional energy from the diet, so taking in additional calories is helpful.

So a better statement would be, “feed a cold, feed a fever.”

With both a cold and a fever, drinking fluids is even more important then eating.  Fever, cough, and congestion can dehydrate us, so keeping well hydrated becomes even more important.  Even if a patient isn’t hungry, staying hydrated with clear liquids, juice, or tea can be very helpful with both colds and fever.

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